What to do in Saint-Paul-de-Vence?
What if the life of an artist was told to you by the pretty village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence?
Famous for its art of living reminiscent of Dolce Vita and its exceptional gastronomy, this small medieval village is a concentrate of history which vibrates with the colors of the artists it saw born.
Visiting Saint-Paul-de-Vence means immersing yourself in the French art of living. But it is also to delight in the sweet imprint of his artistic flow anchored in the remains of traditional Provence.
The bowlers' place
Popular for its tumultuous past, this place has become legendary! In its time, it has hosted a number of celebrities who came to challenge the most keen pétanque players in the shade of the plane trees.
Yves Montand, Line Renaud, Henri Salvador, Lino Ventura and many others have trodden the dust making this square and its café as famous as the Place des Lices in Saint-Tropez.
Enjoy the friendly atmosphere that reigns here. Treat yourself to a coffee and contemplate the famous “Fanny” sculpted especially by César for the Café de la place. Traditionally, these two plump buttocks must receive the kiss of the player who loses his game without scoring a single point...
At the heart of History
By taking the “Grande Rue”, you enter the walls of the fortified city. Don't hesitate to get lost in the maze of its little narrow streets full of Provençal charm where nothing has changed. Its unmissable cobbled streets, its terraces, its light stone village houses with flowered balconies delightfully inspire the Provençal dolce vita.
Throughout your visit, history is revealed through well-designed explanatory panels, ready to take you through the ages!
Go further. Discover the history of Saint-Paul-de-Vence alongside a tour guide who will take you back in time to the very heart of the village.
Discover the collegiate church
This passage requires lovers of culture and architecture! The collegiate church of St-Paul-de-Vence is a charming church whose construction dates back to the 14th and 18th centuries. From the primitive Romanesque church, we note the addition of 16th century side aisles intended to enlarge the building which had become too small.
Then in the 17th century, the church was elevated to the rank of collegiate church and was embellished with precious furniture.
But we will especially stop at the Saint Clément chapel, a jewel of the Baroque era built in the process. It contains relics from the catacombs of Rome and its rich decor will inspire architecture buffs.
The Folon chapel
Also called “chapel of the White Penitents”, the Folon chapel takes its name from the famous artist who gave it its credentials.
This magnificent 17th century chapel was the seat of the White Penitents brotherhood for three centuries. This group of lay people carried out Christian charitable actions to atone for their sins. In fact, they took care of the sick, distributed clothing or grain to the most deprived or welcomed lost pilgrims.
In operation until 1920, the chapel was then restored in a decor entirely designed by the artist Jean-Michel Folon.
Walk on the ramparts
Enjoy a beautiful sunset over a breathtaking view. Walk the ramparts which surround the Provençal village with its former protection.
This wall, erected in the 16th century, alternates curtain walls and bastions for almost a kilometer all around the village. An architectural challenge, it is one of the very first examples of bastioned fortification designed by a French architect.
But its construction required the destruction of many homes. 450 inhabitants were displaced and relocated in the surrounding areas. These new hamlets constituted the beginnings of the adjoining communes of Colle-sur-Loup and Roquefort-Les-Pins.
Hang out in art galleries
We can never repeat it enough, Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a village of art and artists!
You certainly won't be able to miss it while wandering through the heart of its medieval city. Many art galleries are open 7 days a week. They will invite you to discover the unique works of painters, sculptors and other artists who found their source of inspiration in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
Let yourself be carried away by the talent of the Saint Paulois, and leave, why not, with a unique and singular memory.
The cemetery and tomb of Marc Chagall
Take a short detour through the current cemetery which was the initial core of the village before the 12th century.
Among the many celebrities who rest there, Marc Chagall occupies a place all his own. Living in the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence for almost 20 years, he painted many works there. These often represented the Saint-Paulois landscapes and singular naive universes.
In the 2nd part of the cemetery, the couple Aimé and Marguerite Maeght were buried alongside their son who died at 11 years old.
The flavors of a revisited Provence
Do you want to have lunch on the terrace during your walk?
Do the typical smells and spices intoxicate the village streets at lunchtime? Nothing at all normal. Saint Paul de Vence is full of small restaurants with undeniable talent and a warm welcome.
Let yourself be carried away by your desire to discover the flavors of Provence around renowned restaurants or institutions anchored in the life and history of the fortified village.
Everyone has a little something extra to bring. Let your instinct guide you towards an atmosphere, a welcome or dishes that will make even the least greedy among us drool!
The Maeght Foundation
The first independent art foundation in France, this museum was born from the desire of Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, art dealers, to offer a place for exchange and exhibition housing the contemporary works of their artist friends.
The Maeght Foundation aims to bring together one of the most important European collections of works of the 20th century. It offers both temporary and permanent exhibitions.
During your stroll through the heart of the museum, you will discover the creations of many artists: Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder and Fernand Léger.
Enjoy the village!
All you have to do is discover the village!
Here you are informed about the wonders hidden in this magnificent village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
But before exploring the points of interest and historical remains, stop for a few moments on the sweetness of life. The conviviality of the atmosphere and the artistic vibrancy which reigns within this city of character with its picturesque charm invites you to let yourself be carried away by your instinct.
No one will be able to help you discover the soul of Saint-Paul-de-Vence better than your heart itself!